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Cuomo launches book tour, Astorino wants one-on-one debate

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, left, on

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, left, on Jan. 8, 2014 in Albany, and his Republican opponent Rob Astorino on March 7, 2014 in Albany. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launched a sort-of book tour Tuesday with appearances on CBS News and "The Late Show with David Letterman" amid his re-election campaign, while his Republican opponent called his refusal to participate in a one-on-one debate an "insult to the electorate."

Cuomo's political memoir, "All Things Possible," arrived in bookstores Tuesday, though copies were released to some reviewers last week. In it, Cuomo gives his version of his political ascension as a Clinton administration cabinet secretary, his descension into defeat and divorce, and resurrection on his way to the governor's mansion.

"It was living my nightmare. I came back, came to New York after a great time in Washington, and I ran for office -- the same office my father held with distinction for 12 years. And it was a disaster," Cuomo told CBS' Charlie Rose about his 2002 campaign for governor, which marked the low point of his political career.

Later, Rose asked him about his management style, which has been criticized as hardball, bullying and micromanaging. Cuomo said his style is part of his success.

"You can't have one without the other," Cuomo said. "I plead guilty."

Rose, after the segment ended and the show returned live with other CBS anchors, concluded: "I think he would like to be president. It's in his blood."

In the 517-page book, Cuomo recounts some of his resonating memories of growing up in Queens and his strategy about legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011. He reveals that he and legislative leaders "hammered out 95 percent of the agreement" on a new gun control law behind closed doors before he even publicly proposed action in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre.

The governor also talks about his success in cutting state spending during his first year in office, but omits that he was helped by a powerful business consortium, dubbed the Committee to Save New York, that raised and spent millions of dollars to promote his agenda.

Cuomo hit the promotional circuit, too, doing an interview on "CBS This Morning" and USA Today's weekly newsmakers video, and presenting a Top 10 list on "The Late Show with David Letterman." He was slated to do a book signing in Manhattan Wednesday.

Astorino, whom Cuomo has largely ignored on the campaign trail, blasted the governor for going on television to promote his book but failing to agree to more debates before Election Day.

"Governor Cuomo has time for a book tour, but he doesn't have time to face the voters of New York," Astorino said in a statement. "Yet another day has passed with Mr. Cuomo refusing to agree to a one-on-one televised debate. Mr. Cuomo cares only about book sales and self-aggrandizement. What an incredible insult to the electorate."

Cuomo and Astorino are set to square off in Buffalo on Oct. 22 -- but with minor-party candidates also on stage. The only other debate invitation Cuomo accepted was for a radio-only, one-on-one debate with Astorino in Manhattan. Astorino called the terms of the radio debate "insulting," declined to participate and has tried to get the governor to agree to a televised forum.

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